We are always interested in the story behind an artist’s song. This not only gives you a better picture of the artist, but also of their music. In our series A Closer Look, we question artists and give them space to talk about their music, motivation and inspiration. This time, London singer-songwriter SABIYHA speaks in a short Q&A that we did in collaboration with our friends from CURIOUS FOR MUSIC.

What was the starting point of your career in the music industry?

When I was around 17, I had made the decision that I wanted to be a musician, so I started gigging around London and playing the folk circuits, trying to build up experience on the live scene.

You’re about to drop your first debut EP “Sheerkhan”, what can you tell us about it?

“Sheerkhan” is an embodiment of who I am and who I strive to be. These songs cover huge aspects of me, from my mental health, to my sexuality, the importance of chosen family, addiction and the inspiration behind a lot of my art; my mum. The EP is named after her maiden name and to me, it encompasses determination and strength as well as vulnerability, as that is who she is. This EP was partly written during lockdown and just after, co-writing with long time best friend Drew Jodi and my amazing producer, Sour Sync.

Your single ‘Afterparty’ is really personal and talks about your struggle with self-harm. Was it important for you to open up about that topic and maybe be a voice for others in the same situation?

Yes, it’s such a stigmatised topic and one that people tend to feel such heavy shame around. I know it was something I felt I had to keep from everyone for most of my life, but once I started to talk about it, it got easier to manage as I had support from my family and friends. Self harm is a coping mechanism, albeit destructive and harmful, it’s developed through trauma and not knowing how to direct your pain. The more we open the conversation on it, the easier it will be for people to get through it and find new, healthy coping mechanisms.

What do you want listeners to take from your music?

I want them to connect and feel like they can relate and be heard. Especially for those whose voices aren’t heard as much; people from POC backgrounds or those in the LGBTQ+ community; I want my community to have music that is made for them.

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

When I was young, my mum would always ask me “are you a leader or are you a follower?”. She raised me to embrace my differences and to celebrate them; she always encouraged me to be myself. Even if I was teased or bullied for being a weird kid, she would always tell me I’m a leader and forming my own path.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?

I have a couple more singles on the way leading up to my debut EP and a gig on June 13th at Paper Dress Vintage. I’m also in the process of writing and recording my next EP!


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